Sometimes, the word “referral” gets a bad wrap. Too often it’s synonymous with quid pro quo as in “I’ll send you a new supercharge your referral marketingclient if you send me one” or “I’ll pay you $500 for every person that you refer to me.”

I strongly advocate against this. I’m in the school that believes that you don’t mix love and money (my mom will be happy to hear this).

Someone should feel comfortable and excited enough about your company, your product, or your service that they feel it would be a disservice NOT to tell his friends about it.

For the purposes of this post, we will talk about my school of referral marketing…the kind where you don’t have to pay for an endorsement. Here are 3 ways to supercharge your referral marketing and are things that you could start today.

Send 5 emails that are solely about the recipients and not about you

If you’re in a relationship-based business, you’re probably guilty of constantly asking to be referred. This is not what inspires people and this is not what any of us respond to.

Today, send 5 emails to 5 different people. These emails should not contain a single call-to-action that revolves around you and your services. Examples could be introducing two people in a complementary field or sharing an interesting article.

Chances are, this will be much easier than actually asking for something. If you find it hard, you might be an ass who should not be in a relationship-based business to begin with. [Said totally candidly…with love].

Sign up for Quora and answer 3 questions

Quora is a tremendous resource that can help generate highly qualified inbound traffic to your site. By answering using quora for businessquestions on Quora, you can add value to the community through your expertise and also build thought leadership in your specialty. [Side note: from a marketing analytics perspective, I see a tremendous amount of high quality traffic referred to our site from our answers on Quora].

Plan a webinar or seminar with a strategic partner

Pair up with a strategic partner who is in your industry or who targets your same ideal customer. Determine a topic that will appeal to your audience and is not a sales pitch. The point here is to provide value and to build trust.

I’m partial to webinars because we work with people all over the world; I also believe that they are logistically easier. However, if you are geographically-focused, consider an in-person seminar (preferably with beer) that promises a chance for your audience to learn something and to meet other like-minded people.

The interesting thing about referral marketing is that you don’t have to ask for a referral to get one. The people who get the most referrals are actually those that constantly provide value without expecting anything in return. Aren’t those the people and businesses we like best and want to tell everyone about?

Do you think the word “referrals” gets a bad wrap? Is it justified?